Grandparent visitation in Kentucky
Does a grandparent of a child in Kentucky have a right to grandparent visitation under the laws of the Commonwealth? While the answer is yes, grandparents in Kentucky, under current law, will find it difficult to win visitation rights to a grandchild over the objections of that child’s parent[s].
KRS 405.021 states that family courts in Kentucky may grant reasonable visitation rights to a grandparent of a child provided such visitation is in the child’s best interests.
However, the analysis of what’s in a child’s best interest in a grandparent visitation case always starts with the presumption that a fit parent acts in their child’s best interest, including when a fit parent denies a grandparent the right to see a grandchild.
This presumption must be overcome by clear and convincing evidence presented by a grandparent seeking to establish visitation over parental objection[s]. See, Walker v. Blair, Ky., 382 S.W.3d 862, 870-871 (2012). The reality of the Walker decision means that parental objection from a fit parent to grandparent visitation is now enough to effectively deny any such visits.
In analyzing whether or not a party has overcome this presumption, Courts must look to the “broad array” of factors set forth by the Kentucky Supreme Court in Vibbert v. Vibbert, Ky. App., 144 S.W.3d 292, 295 (2004). The factors include the following:
“the nature and stability of the relationship between the child and the grandparent seeking visitation; the amount of time spent together; the potential detriments and benefits to the child from granting visitation; the effect granting visitation would have on the child’s relationship with the parents; the physical and emotional health of all the adults involved, parents and grandparents alike; the stability of the child’s living and schooling arrangements; [and] the wishes and preferences of the child.” Id. at 295.
Are you a grandparent seeking visitation with your grandchild? Or, are you a parent seeking to defeat a grandparent visitation claim?
The experienced Family Law attorneys at The Gailor Law Office, PLLC have handled both sides of these cases. In fact, Jason Dattilo was recently successful in defeating a claim for grandparent visitation in the Jefferson County trial court with the decision later upheld by the Kentucky Court of Appeals.